Thanks to a 72-63 win against sixth-seeded Wayne State on Monday in the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship, Ashland (34-1) set a school single-season record and is heading to the NCAA quarterfinals for a consecutive year. The Eagles’ were on a nine-game winning streak coming into the game.
At halftime the Eagles were ahead 36-26. In the first 8:14 of the second half, the Warriors outscored Ashland 24-6 to take an eight-point lead 50-42 with 11:46 to play. The Eagles were able to regroup, thanks in large part to senior guard-forward Kari Daugherty, who scored 14 of her 17 points in the second half.
With 4:54 remaining in regulation, the game was tied at 60. Ashland outscored the Warriors 12-3 the rest of the game. Daugherty had four points in that run and the Eagles were 6 of 7 at the free throw line. For the game, Ashland was 20 of 24 at the free throw line (83.3 percent). In the second half, AU was 16 of 19 (84.2 percent) on free throw attempts.
“Wayne State played a phenomenal game,” AU head coach Sue Ramsey said.
Ashland held the lead throughout the first half. With 15 seconds left in the half, the Eagles were in front by 13 points. WSU’s Talisha Bridges buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to knock that lead down to 10 points.
Daugherty had just three points in the half — she was 1 of 7 from the field while playing all 20 minutes. The Eagles got a huge lift from sophomore guard Taylor Woods, who scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half. Woods, playing in her first postseason, was 4 of 6 from the field in the first half, 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
In the second half, Daugherty was 5 of 9 from the field and 4 of 4 at the free throw line. She altered her strategy a little bit. In the first half, she spent a lot of time inside, matching up with WSU’s Cochran, who had 15 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots.
“I think playing the [forward is] a strength of mine, being able to adjust, not just being on the block,” Daugherty said.
Both teams had 48 rebounds. Thanks to Cochran, WSU led in points in the paint 24-16 and in second chance points 22-9.
Daugherty and Woods finished with 17 points. Junior guard Alyssa Miller had 12 points and four assists and senior forward Daiva Gerbec had 11 points and 10 rebounds. This was Gerbec’s fourth consecutive double-double. The double-double was Daugherty’s third in a row and her 22nd of the season.
Bridges had 18 points, nine rebounds, four blocked shots and four steals. Phaebre Colbert had 10 points and six rebounds.
Both teams had nine turnovers. AU shot 34.6 percent (27 of 78) from the field and Wayne State shot 36.5 percent (23 of 63).
This was the first game this season the Eagles played that was decided by less than nine points.